As one of the Swartland’s leading grape growers, Leeuwenkuil has played an under-the-radar role in the so-called Swartland Revolution, supplying grapes to most of its revolutionaries who set up shop in the shadows of the Paardeberg and Kasteelberg, near the towns of Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek West. These intrepid winemakers sourced their grapes from “… low yielding, appropriate to locations, often bushvine, mainly dryland, largely unfashionable old vineyards with limited commercial viability to mainstream producers,” as so eloquently described by Michael Fridjhon.
Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards’ four farms, two in the Swartland and two in the Paarl district, one of which is in the Voor Paardeberg ward, collectively, are the largest single grape growers in the Coastal Region harvesting over 1 100 hectares a year that yield 9 000 tons. After breaking away from Perdeberg Winery in 2008, Leeuwenkuil set up their own (leased) cellar on Bottelary Road, near Stellenbosch.
“My top wine of the year is a single vineyard Syrah from the Southern Slopes of Riebeek Mountain. There is a reason that Mullineux-Leeu, Rupert and Boekenhoutskloof have bought all of the land here, this is South Africa’s Cote Rotie…” Roland Peens
Cool nights, very rocky schist and the southern exposure is quite unique in the Swartland, giving the wines from Riebeek Mountain an old-world-like tension. Heritage Syrah is made from the 1.5ha ‘Middelpos’ vineyard that is actually owned by the South Africa Government, a long story in itself. The wine was made under the guidance of Rudiger Gretschel for Leeuwenkuil and it has been launched alongside a premium Leeuwenkuil Chenin Blanc, made by Pieter Carstens, under the guidance of Vincent Careme of Vouvray.
Why is it so good? Well, according to Rudiger who farmed this vineyard preceding the vintage, the grapes were perfect. Tiny, healthy berries came from natural farming and a balanced low-yielding vineyard.
Savoury dark olive, perfume and kirsch. It is fresh, rich and tannic with exquisite balance.
Maturation: 10 – 12 years
2017 Old Mutual Makro Trophy for best Shiraz, as well as Old Mutual Trophy for best red wine overall